Posted by Ken Schmidt

Al Mohler has written an insightful post concerning the foreclosure of Borders bookstore and the demise of bookstores in general.  I was intrigued by this thought from the article:

The general wisdom seems to be that the bookstore will go the way of the record store and the video rental outlet. The bookstore may have been an important cultural asset in years past, many argue, but it has little place in a world of e-readers, online sales, and mega retailers like WalMart that deep-discount bestsellers.

Some go further and suggest that the demise of the bookstore is a signal of the demise of the book itself, at least as a printed product with pages between covers. That dystopian prophecy is almost surely overblown, but the book’s survival in printed form does depend, to a considerable extent, upon the survival of bookstores.

This commentary is challenging and disturbing to me because I love to read.  And I love to read books, books that I can see, smell and touch.  In the course of a week, I generally read two to three books.  Numerous people have advised me to buy the Kindle or some kind of e-reader.  I have weighed the pros and cons of each and come to the conclusion that I don’t want a Kindle or e-reader.  I like to have a book in my hands. 

Is this simply because I am old and refuse to enter the age of technology.  I imagine that may be part of it, but I think there is a bigger reason for my desire to have a physical copy of the book in my hands.  It is a matter of focus.  When I have a book, I am fully concentrating on the content of the book.  When I am online and read an article, I am bombarded with opportunities to wander in my concentration.  Most online articles have numerous links and if I understand correctly, Kindle and e-readers also have links at the tips of your fingers as well.  Yes, these links have a usefulness to them, but they also fuel the limited attention span that online technology has fostered in our generation.

To read a book or an e-reader, that is the question…

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